Leech Lake, Muskoka

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Loon Autopsy

Early in September my family and I located a dead loon on the south road point.

The loon was sent to Guelph via the Bracebridge Department of Natural Resources office for an analysis.

Recently we received a preliminary report from DNR. The adult loon was very emaciated and it was determined that it died of lead poisoning. A lead fishing weight and a snap swivel were found in the bird's gullet.

How could a mishap like this take place? A number of scenarios come to mind.

An abandoned lure,
A lure in a fish that escaped,
A lure lodged too deep in a fish to retrieve and it gets cut loose.

Everyone should refrain from using lead sinkers. Lead is lethal to all forms of life. Wild fowl swallow small pebbles and other small solid objects from the bottom of the lake to assist with their digestive system. These objects lodge in their gullet and help to grind solid objects like fish bones etc. Lead weights ingested will certainly result in death.

In all cases we should make every effort to retrieve lures that get stuck in rocks or submerged logs so loons do not mistake it as a fish and swallow it.

Possibly someone may catch a bass where the lure is lodged too deep in the fish to retrieve it so it may be thrown back into the lake. A loon catches the fish and the lure is consumed along with the fish. We should never throw the fish back in this case. The fish should be removed from the lake so one can safely dispose of it.

Also when loons are in the area we should refrain from fishing and move on or wait until the loon(s) have vacated the area.

Alan Greenwood


At 1:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone recently seen the female Loon and her offspring?

At 2:11 PM, Blogger Leech Lake, Muskoka said...

We were at the cottage from Thurs. Oct. 6th through Monday and did not see the loons. Early in september I saw the young loon trying to lift off the lake so I was encouraged to think it wouldlearn to fly in time to migrate. According to Loon Watch on the web loons migrate anywhere from mid september through Oct.

We are not sure which of the adult loons died and hope to get that information with the final report

At 9:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good inof on loons including migration


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